Jon’s appointment at noon on Friday to receive both the COVID booster and the flu vaccine had us wondering whether we should cancel our weekend camping plans. After all, we had no idea how he would respond to the “dynamic duo,” and if he was going to be miserable, we thought it would be best to be miserable at home. As it turns out, aside from some pain at the COVID injection site and a few muscle aches, his reaction wasn’t so much misery as it was lethargy. He experienced fatigue and discomfort, but nothing that would have warranted canceling our plans. Thankfully, by Sunday morning, all side effects had subsided and he was able to enjoy the day without much of a thought toward the vaccines that were strengthening his immune system.
Throughout the weekend, we were surrounded by the North Texas Campers & RVers, a local camping group whose members displayed a flag that is an adaptation of the traditional “Come and Take It” flag that has become a common site at campgrounds. The camping group substituted the “Come and Take It” phrase with “Come and Camp It,” switching out the cannon image with a silhouette of a travel trailer, presumably an Avion, a model owned by the group’s founder, Jim Vititow. He was among the campers this weekend, and we had hoped to encounter him so we could ask him about the meaning and purpose of the flag adaptation, but alas, the opportunity escaped us.
The original flag has long been a symbol of defiance and Texas pride. The cannon symbolizes a used six-pounder that was sent by the Mexican government to the colony of Gonzales (at the colonists’ request) in 1831. Four years later, the small bronze cannon would be used in the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. As an act of defiance, the group of Texans who were defending Gonzales against Mexican forces, fashioned a flag containing the phrase “come and take it,” along with a black star and an image of the armament – the same message they had previously sent to the Mexican government when they were told to return the cannon – which brought the Mexican military to Gonzales to forcefully take it back in the first place.
Since the 1990s, the flag has been appropriated by Second Amendment activists, with some replacing the image of the cannon with an M16 rifle or, more recently, a shoulder-fired semi-automatic sniper rifle. The idea remains unchanged: it is still a symbol of defiance and pride. The question: Why associate a camping club with such a symbol? The appropriation of the phrase with camping doesn’t make sense to us, so we’re curious to discover its meaning and purpose.
Speaking of flags, we had a bit of a “come to Jesus” conversation about our flag situation. Jon has spent years trying to make our flagpole work, with varying degrees of success, all because he knows how important it is for Cliff to display the American and Marine Corps flags. Despite our best efforts and numerous investments, we still haven’t found a good solution. Jon was ready to give up on it when Cliff said his peace of mind was more important than a display of patriotism. After a bit of reflection, Jon decided to try something new. We have a set of small flags that we can be inserted into the ground, but the clay soil in some parks, especially during a drought, can harden like concrete, making it impossible to get even a pencil-thin pole into the ground. Why not use our drill to create a starter hole? After all, it works for the oil and gas industry.
As it turns out, it also worked for us. We were able to effortlessly insert the small flag poles. At the same time, we also introduced a little peace of mind and patriotism.